Richard DeRienzo, partner and advisory services leader, Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP

PBN 2020 Leaders & Achievers Awards
Richard DeRienzo | Partner and advisory services leader, Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP

RICHARD DERIENZO’S LEADERSHIP skills have been put to the test in 2020. He was called upon to help design and implement the COVID-19 pandemic response plan for Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP, a national accounting and business advisory firm with a Providence office.

“We had to identify what areas we needed to focus on to help our clients deal with COVID-19,” said DeRienzo, the firm’s partner and advisory services leader.

Citrin Cooperman is working with its clients on everything from navigating government stimulus programs and their tax implications to enhancing cybersecurity and managing employees working from home. DeRienzo said there was a lot of work needed, and fast.

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“We had a core group of about 10 people working on [the plan],” he said. “What used to take us weeks, even months to do, we’re now doing in days. We put together the first COVID-19 response over a weekend, had it together on a Monday, and it’s been evolving ever since.”

Citrin Cooperman has created “playbooks” to help companies through the health crisis, but different business sectors can have very different needs. “You have to have a tailored response for everyone,” DeRienzo said.

Citrin Cooperman has just a skeleton crew working at its offices, DeRienzo said. Most employees, himself included, are currently working from home.

DeRienzo is a certified public accountant with degrees in business administration and taxation from Bryant University. “I think of myself as a businessman who understands a whole lot of different stuff,” he said.

Out of the office, DeRienzo is devoted to community service. He was board chairman of the Greater Providence YMCA, board chair for Leadership Rhode Island and a fiscal committee member for Meeting Street.

“It’s been an opportunity to meet different people, to interact with different people, to do something that makes a difference outside of work,” he said. “This puts me in contact with people who were different than I was. It expands my own vision of how to look at things.”